Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Boring writer rant

Samhain is open for submissions again. Damn, there goes my editor invitation edge! Or maybe not.--I’m trying to become more optimistic. Perhaps the tasteful editor will still look at those she invited to submit first. Actually, with the exception of currently contracted authors, my guess is first in--first read applies to manuscript submissions.

Try as I might I can’t work up much optimism about this particular submission’s chances.

I love the story. But it’s a long ways from anything I’ve read from Samhain. So my head says it’s a poor match for this house. My heart says they publish a wide range and I haven’t read everything they’ve done.

Submitting stories for publication takes a certain amount of optimism. After spending an hour or so researching the publishing industry you catch on it’s a lot like American Idol tryouts--many are called … but few are chosen.

I’ve read books where I wondered what the agent, editor, publisher, and reading public were smoking. I’ve read others that should be famous and aren’t. Why don’t the brilliant, fresh, and delightful become huge successes instantly? Lots of reasons. Timing, connections, persistence all count for as much as talent. Publishing is a business. They want to make money.

Pretend you’re an editor for a few minutes. You work for a mass-market publisher. Your job is to pick best sellers out of the manuscripts submitted to you. If you’re reviewing two stories, both well written, one is by a brand name author and the other by an unknown--who would you pick? Me too.

It took a long time to get this obvious answer into my mule-brain and even longer to get over it. Are there exceptions? Yes. Occasionally a newbie writer zooms straight to the top of the bestseller charts without so much passing go or collecting $200.00. This is an example of that magical timing, and connection stuff at work, which is great if it happens but isn’t a real plan. Personally, I’m big on plans.

So back to the one part of this whole operation I have any control over, writing another damn fine story.


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